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Strong Stands Out At Fox Sports

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Soccer has been growing in popularity in the U.S. in recent years, but most of the announcers for the game still come from other countries. John Strong is one of the few American play by play announcers for Fox Sports’ Major League Soccer broadcasts, and he started here in the Pacific Northwest. Strong began his career announcing his high school football games on the internet, and quickly worked his way up to one of the TV announcers for the Portland Timbers.

On early success:

“The first ever Timbers MLS game in 2011 was in Denver. And I was at the time 25 and I remember in the minutes leading up to the game I actually got a little bit teary-eyed … ‘this is all happening!’ As a young kid, at the time … when British voices were seen as in vogue because that’s what you need to have to have an authentic soccer broadcast … and I had next to me Robbie Earl, an incredibly accomplished player and broadcaster … I had a lot of insecurity, truth be told, about what I was doing.”

On being a Blazers fan and the appeal of sports announcing:

“The way that I lived my fandom as a young kid was through the voice of Bill Shonley. And I think in retrospect the romanticism of that voice being the connection between you and the team … and that always really appealed to me … being able to be a voice that narrates, in this case for me, the growth of soccer, and the burgeoning of a new era for the sport in this country.”

On his personal play by play style:

“Rather than shout ‘GOOOAAAALL!’ —which I can’t do, it sounds terrible, it’s not authentic. But what I will do is if there’s a player who has a vowel sound at the end of their last name I’ll [draw out the last syllable of the player’s name] … that’s an influence from Spanish language broadcasting.”

On the popularity of soccer in the US:

“The growth of soccer in this country has been generational. There was never going to be a big bang moment of the U.S. wins a World Cup … and all of a sudden 40 million Americans wake up soccer crazy. … A lot of the predictions trying to tie youth participation to fans being adults … completely false. Otherwise tetherball would be a sport we see on ESPN2.

“What it took was a generational shift … When I was in elementary school, we all played soccer on the weekends, but at recess we were all wearing our Blazers or our football jerseys playing kickball. I go past [my old elementary school now] and they’re all playing soccer on the playground. “

Credit to OPB who originally published this article

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Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”

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Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.

Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.

King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.

“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”

Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.

King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”

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Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7

“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”

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Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.

The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.

“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”

Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.

Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.

Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.

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Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”

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Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.

WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”

McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.

“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”

WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.

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